Mega pixel phone photos degraded by MMS networks

News

Cognima's tests of MMS on the UK's four largest mobile networks show only low quality photos can be sent from the latest megapixel camera-phones

Cognima, the effortless mobile services company, today published a report following its research into the loss of image quality when photos are sent via the MMS picture messaging system. The report compares the quality of photos transferred from the latest megapixel camera-phones to online photo albums using MMS. Cognima used Nokia's new 7610 megapixel camera-phone to conduct tests on each of the UK's four largest mobile networks: Vodafone, Orange, 02, and T-Mobile.

For the tests, Cognima took several megapixel photos with the 7610 phone and sent them via MMS to an online photo album over the four UK mobile networks.  The results were consistent across all the networks.  When sending a photo using the default "small" MMS setting the photo resolution is reduced by a factor of 50 - from the 1152x864 pixel resolution of the original megapixel photo to a 160x120 pixel image. The result is an extremely low quality photo that some online photo albums will refuse to print.

The 'small' MMS photo setting is the default because many phones can only receive MMS messages of this size. However, all four of the UK operators can support larger 100k byte MMS messages, which megapixel camera-phones (including the Nokia 7610) can use if the user switches the phone to the 'large' MMS photo mode.

Cognima repeated the tests in 'large' MMS photo mode. Once again the results were consistent across all the networks: the photo resolution is reduced by a factor of four - from the original 1152x864 pixel resolution to a 576x432 pixel image. The result is a low quality photo that is barely printable and shows visible artifacts from the severe image compression.

"The quality of the photos sent from these phones by using MMS is below print quality even in 'large' mode," said Bloor Research mobile industry analyst, and semi-professional photographer, Rob Bamforth. "For users who have bought a megapixel camera-phone it will be extremely disappointing that they cannot easily get their high quality photos into an online photo album where they can keep them safe, share and print them."

"MMS was designed to solve the problem of getting photos from one phone to another.   Low quality photos are fine for that purpose, but it was never designed to get high quality megapixel photos from a camera-phone to an online photo album," said Simon East, CEO Cognima. "Cognima Snap solves this problem by allowing users to effortlessly transfer their megapixel images from their camera-phone to an online photo album".

Cognima recently announced the launch of its Cognima Snap(tm) service which allows megapixel quality images to be uploaded from supported camera-phones direct to online photo albums with a single key press on the phone. Results of a trial with a major UK network operator revealed that Cognima Snap increased the number of photos uploaded from camera-phones to online photo albums by 14 fold.

External Links

Copy of full Cognima test report